It speaks volumes when the top tourist attraction for a city is a very tall jet of water. (Note the perfect alignment of a swan’s butt with the fountain… I worked hard on this composition!)

Even more revealing is when the advice from those who live there on how to spend a Sunday is to visit Ivoire or Evian (yes, as in the water)… Both of which you subsequently discover, are in a neighbouring country: France!

Ah yes, that must mean you are in Geneva, Switzerland. And on this drizzly Sunday, after a walk along Lac Leman, trudging through the charming old town, window shopping the shopping district (displaying a closed-on-Sundays civility that I approve of) and dining on a buckwheat crepe in the shadow of Saint-Pierre Cathedral, I am going to what seems to be the most excitement in town: celebrations for the UN’s 60th anniversary.

No really. This means I can wander through the wonderful gardens at Perl du Lac, gain access to the normally off-limits innards of the Palais where the UN is headquartered, and lend a supportive body to the day’s events.

But it is a harsh contrast to the brilliant colours and characters of Morocco. “It must seem a little flat?” Asked my mom. By example I explained that in Morocco I had been shooting more than 50 photos a day. Here I’m seeking them, and so far I have photos of old streets, Swiss flags and a fabulous photo of a swan’s butt! (Yes, soon to be posted, so come back frequently!)

My 18th hour impressions of this city are of a quiet, civil community, filled with copious gardens and comunity parks, on-time public transport, and ruthlessly efficient use of living space.

This quirky character is evident also in the decor. My hotel has put a lot of effort into its decor, going so far as to supply guests with a printed guide of the different inspirations onb the various floors.

My floor, for example, has a bird-cum-agricultural implement theme, with a display of pliers and scythes on the landing created by some Baronness meant to evoke “birds with a large bird chasing them.”

One floor down and you can enjoy the dry wit of the clock dislay, a pyramid of alarm clocks that include a jug (“effective when filled with water, circa 17th century”) and a statue of a rooster (“farmer’s alarm clock”.)

I guess if you adopt this as your perspective then it’s easy to enjoy playing the role of the butt of what I’ve dubbed the lingua franca joke: people who answer your question in French with a haute polite and perfect French reply to the effective that they are very sorry that they cannot help you because they speak only Swiss-French.
Tant pis!


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